It is foolish to belittle a neighbor; a person with good sense remains silent. A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.
Chuck Swindoll once quoted an epitaph from an English country tombstone: “Beneath this stone, a lump of clay, lies Arabella Young, who on the 24th of May began to hold her tongue.”
Arabella Young must have been a gossip. I wonder who wrote her epitaph? Was it someone whose reputation or whose friendships had been damaged because Arabella just plain talked too much?
Maybe—and now I’m going to say this with a sad pang in my heart—but maybe Arabella went to prayer meetings and brought up juicy little scraps of bad news so that everyone could be “praying about it.” But have you noticed that sometimes we talk about the problems of others more than we pray about the problems of others? Shame on us. Arabella should have known that God is definitely against gossip, and we should be too. In fact, the Proverbs address the sins of the tongue over sixty times.
On the other hand, “those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.” Johann Lavater once said, “Never tell evil of a man if you do not know it for certainty, and if you know it for a certainty, then ask yourself, ‘Why should I tell it?’”